Howard Hughes’ engagement ring for Katharine Hepburn sells for US$108,000

Oscars previously presented to actress Katharine Hepburn are seen at the ‘Meet the Oscars Display’ at the Hollywood & Highland Centre in Los Angeles February 9, 2007. — Reuters pic
Oscars previously presented to actress Katharine Hepburn are seen at the ‘Meet the Oscars Display’ at the Hollywood & Highland Centre in Los Angeles February 9, 2007. — Reuters pic

LOS ANGELES, July 25 — The emerald and diamond engagement ring that Howard Hughes gave to Hollywood star Katharine Hepburn in 1938 sold for US$108,000 (RM460,350) at a Los Angeles auction — more than three times the expected price — while a collection of her love letters to him fetched US$44,800.

Auction house Profiles in History said yesterday that other personal items belonging to Hughes also went for more than their pre-sale estimates, including the entrepreneur’s trademark fedora (US$51,200) and the two-tone jacket (US$89,600) he wore while piloting his huge Spruce Goose flying boat.

Hughes and Hepburn never married but their 18-month romance in the late 1930s, which was chronicled in the 2004 movie The Aviator, was a big celebrity story at the time.

Her 55 handwritten letters, notes and postcards came to auction for the first time and had been expected to fetch up to US$15,000. The engagement ring had a pre-sale estimate of about US$30,000.

In the letters, Hepburn used pet names and pseudonyms like C. Mouse and Mrs. HR Country and showered the movie mogul and millionaire businessman with praise.

The buyers of the Howard Hughes items were not revealed. — Reuters

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